Fordham-Saint Louis Preview
Already having matched the second-best start in school history, Saint Louis is a win away from matching its best start in conference play in nearly five decades.
The 24th-ranked Billikens will look to improve to 4-0 in Atlantic 10 action when they host Fordham on Saturday.
Saint Louis' 16-2 record is its best since opening 17-1 in 1993-94. The Billikens have won 10 in a row following a Dec. 1 loss to then-No. 12 Wichita State, including their first 3-0 league mark in nine seasons in the Atlantic 10.
A 4-0 start in league action would be the program's first since 1964-65 in the Missouri Valley Conference, but the first three wins haven't been spotless.
The Billikens shot just 36.2 percent in a 59-58 victory at Rhode Island on Jan. 7 and weren't particularly impressive in their first game after breaking into the rankings, a 66-60 home win over St. Bonaventure on Wednesday.
"I wouldn't say there's much pride in being ranked at all," said forward Dwayne Evans, who had 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. "It's a cool number next to our name when we play games. That's really about all it is. We've been here before. We knew we were going to have a target on our back, even if we weren't ranked, coming off of last year."
The Billikens bounced back to shoot 63.2 percent in the second half after shooting only 32.4 percent in the first 20 minutes. Jordair Jett mirrored that trend, scoring 10 of his 15 points in the second half after starting 1 of 7 from the floor, though he finished just 5 of 11 from the free-throw line.
Saint Louis was 16 of 30 from the line - including 1 for 7 in the final minute - after going 14 of 17 in a 67-59 win at Dayton last Saturday.
Saint Louis hasn't had much trouble with Fordham, owning an 8-1 series edge with the last five victories coming by an average of 21.4 points. The Billikens took a 90-73 road victory Feb. 6, shooting 56.9 percent with Evans going 10 of 12 for 24 points with 10 rebounds. Jett was 6 of 8 with 14 points as a reserve.
The Rams (7-9, 0-3) have lost five straight. They opened up a 13-4 lead against Dayton on Wednesday, but a three-point halftime deficit ballooned quickly as the Flyers began the second half on a 10-2 run.
Ryan Rhoomes had 15 points and 15 rebounds, but Jon Severe - the nation's leading freshman scorer with 20.9 points per game - had another rough outing. He was 3 of 13 with 13 points, coming off the bench for the first time after going 4 of 22 in last Saturday's 77-74 overtime loss to Richmond.
Fordham has lost 24 of its last 25 against ranked opponents, only knocking off then-No. 22 Harvard 60-54 on Jan. 3, 2012.